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Rules for public protector removal 'flawed'

Busisiwe Mkhwebane says if she does get removed she would accept the decision as it would be God's plan.
Busisiwe Mkhwebane says if she does get removed she would accept the decision as it would be God's plan.
Image: ANTONIO MUCHAVE

Public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane wants the "grossly unfair" parliamentary process which seeks to remove her from office to be temporarily halted.

Mkhwebane said she has written to National Assembly speaker Thandi Modise asking her to suspend the process that is expected to begin with appointing a panel next month as it is unconstitutional.

"I am advised that the rules are unconstitutional and unlawful in that they amount to a violation of the constitutionality prescribed duty imposed on organs of state to protect the independence of chapter 9 institutions," she said.

Mkhwebane said the rules guiding the process were riddled with "many deficiencies" that she believed warrant a temporary suspension of the process.

Last week Modise announced she had approved a DA request to initiate proceedings for Mkhwebane's removal from office.

The announcement came after the National Assembly last month adopted new rules on the removal of office bearers of chapter nine institutions, including the office of the public protector.

The concerns Mkhwebane said she raised in her letter to Modise were that the rules do not provide for recusal of conflicted parties and that there are members of the executive and legislature who have either been investigated or are being investigated by her office.

She also said the rules do not provide for the principle of listening to both sides of the story "at all in their application and implementation".

According to Mkhwebane she was not informed of the decision to commence the process for her removal and only found out in the media.

"To date, I have not heard from the speaker. This is a violation of my rights to dignity, privacy and confidentiality and has the effect of undermining the effectiveness of this very important constitutional institution."

She said although she hoped Modise would accede to her request and the matter is resolved amicably, she was in touch with her legal team.

Mkhwebane, however, said if she does get removed she would accept the decision as it would be God's plan.

“Yes if the process of parliament leads to my removal, it will be God’s way of doing that, his will be done. I’m in this position to serve, to change the lives of the people and he [God] used the people in parliament to put me here and if he’ll use them to remove me, so be it,” Mkhwebane said.

She also said she was concerned that state institutions were being used to target her, responding to weekend reports that the South African Revenue Services and the Hawks were looking into her tax affairs.

She said she wanted to assure South Africans that she was a law-abiding citizen and hoped the investigation would be conducted in good faith.

"I am, however, concerned about what appear to be an abuse of state institutions to settle scores. It is a well-known fact that I have conducted and continue to conduct investigations that have not gone down well with certain sections of society. Some of those matters involve Sars."

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